Jan 1/2 Meteors and the Quadrantids
January 2, 2009 3 Comments
Last night was almost a exact copy of the previous night with a similar number of meteors being detected.
Tonight marks the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower. Unlike most major showers that have broad peaks which cover many nights, the Quadrantids have a sharp peak that only lasts a few hours. As a result, whether you see a few Quadrantids a night or a few Quadrantids an hour depends on whether you catch the peak.
This year there are 2 predictions for the peak. Based on past Quadrantid peaks, the International Meteor Organization predicts a peak on January 3 at 12h 50m UT. That’s 5:50 am MST or 4:50 am PST. If this prediction is correct, the Quadrantids will be best over western North America and probably pretty good for all of North America. You can also monitor the activity level of the QUAs at the IMO’s ZHR Live site.
A second prediction is based on work by Jeremie Veubaillon and published in a chart in Peter Jenniskens’s book “Meteor Showers and Their Parent Comets”. It predicts an earlier peak on January 3 at ~1:00 UT. That’s in the early evening for North America at a time when the shower will not be easily visible. The Veubaillon prediction is based on all of the Quadrantids having been released during the break-up of a comet in 1490.
If you live in a reasonably dark place in North America and can brave the cold, wake up 2 hours before sunrise. You should be able to spot a dozen or more Quadrantids per hour.
Obs Date (UT) TotTime TOT SPO ANT COM QUA TUS 2009-01-02 12h 08m 28 19 2 3 4
TUS – Camera in Tucson operated by Carl Hergenrother
SDG – Camera in San Diego operated by Bob Lunsford
TotTime – Total amount of time each camera looked for meteors
TOT – Total number of meteors detected
SPO – Sporadics (meteors not affiliated with any particular meteor shower)
ANT – Antihelions
COM – Coma Berenicids
QUA – Quadrantids